PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is comfortable with the lawmakers who are gunning for the House speakership, Malacañang said Wednesday, June 26.
The statement came the same day Duterte's political party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), endorsed Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco to be the next speaker of the House of Representatives in the incoming 18th Congress.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace wished the aspirants for House speakership the best, as he noted that all of them are "allies" of the President.
"The President yesterday made clear his position that he would leave the choice for speakership to the capable hands of the members of Congress and will not endorse a particular individual for the position. May the best and most competent aspirant win," he said.
"[Duterte] is comfortable with any of the candidates securing the seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives because they are all his political allies," the Palace official added.
Apart from Velasco, other PDP-Laban members seeking the highest post at the House of Representatives are Davao del Norte First District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga Third District Representative Aurelio Gonzales.
Two other congressmen aspiring to be House Speaker are Taguig First District Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Leyte First District Representative Martin Romualdez, who are likewise both known as allies of Duterte.
Panelo said PDP-Laban has authorized its campaign manager, Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, to announce the ruling party's bet for House speakership, "in deference to the neutral stand of the President."
He said Duterte would rather focus on the business of governance "rather than play politics and ruffle the feelings of those outside of his preferred choice."
"The latter is simply not the character and style of the Chief Executive," Panelo said.
"President Duterte is confident that the next Lower House leader would shepherd his legislative agenda for the nation's best interest and the people's general welfare," he added.
Panelo added that the Palace was optimistic that congressmen know and will vote for the candidate whom they think and believe can give them "excellent stewardship in legislating policies and measures that will deliver positive and genuine change for our people." (SunStar Philippines)